Abortion Rights Group Targets McMorris Rodgers, Walden on Family Separations

Equity Forward Action launching six-figure TV ad buys in Washington and Oregon

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., pictured together in 2010, are the subjects of six-figure TV ad buys from Equity Forward Action targeting them over border family separation crisis. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Equity Forward Action is launching six-figure TV ad buys Wednesday targeting House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden over the GOP-controlled Congress’ failure to pass legislation addressing family separations at the border.

For a week, the reproductive rights advocacy group, which bills itself as a Health and Human Services Department watchdog, will air nearly identical 30-second ads on a mix of broadcast and cable networks, with the one targeting McMorris Rodgers airing in the Spokane market and the one attacking Walden airing in the Medford, Portland and Bend markets.

The ads ask viewers to imagine loosing their child for an hour, a day or months, before noting that hundreds of children who were separated from parents at the border have still not been reunited with their families. 

Separately, the ads ask what McMorris Rodgers and Walden have done about that, before answering, “Next to nothing.” The ads tell viewers to urge their representatives to do their jobs and get to the bottom of the family separation crisis. 

“As two of the most powerful members of Congress, both Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Greg Walden have failed as leaders with their responses to the child separation crisis,” Mary Alice Carter, Equity Forward Action’s executive director, said in a statement. 

“Neither McMorris Rodgers nor Walden have produced real results and both refuse to use their power to hold the administration accountable for cruelly separating these families,” she added. “Hundreds of children could be orphaned and it is up to leaders like McMorris Rodgers and Walden to get to the bottom of what happened.  Their constituents and these families demand and deserve answers.”

From the Archives: Thousands March in DC to Protest Family Separation

House Republicans had shown initial interest in passing legislation on family separations only to find some conservatives were demanding additional provisions to address asylum processes and catch and release processes that more moderate GOP members were unlikely to accept. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates McMorris Rodgers’ race Leans Republican and Walden’s Solid Republican.

Equity Forward conducted polling in both districts regarding the family separation issue. 

In Washington’s 5th District, exactly half of the 400 likely voters the group surveyed July 24-26 said McMorris Rodgers had not done enough to address family separations.

In Oregon’s 2nd District, 49 percent of the 400 likely voters surveyed July 24-27 felt the same about Walden.

Both polls had a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.  

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